Tuesday, 10 September 2019 11:27

Telco BVivid pays $25,000 penalty over consumer contracts breach Featured

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Telco BVivid has paid fines totalling $25,000 for making telemarketing calls to consumers in areas transitioning to the NBN that breached Australian Consumer Law.

The telco was penalised by the competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commisssion, for making telemarketing calls to consumers in areas transitioning to the NBN that breached Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC said on Monday it has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from BVivid after issuing the telco with two infringement notices.

As part of commitments in the undertaking BVivid will contact all affected consumers and offer to release them from their contracts without charge and refund any termination fees already paid.

The ACCC says that from October 2017 to at least May 2018, BVivid cold-called consumers and told them their internet services would be disconnected or they would lose their telephone number if they did not move to the NBN immediately.

“BVivid’s calls likely misled consumers and gave them a false sense of urgency and need,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“Consumers generally have 18 months from when the NBN becomes available in their area to switch before being at risk of disconnection.”

BVivid also admitted that it likely breached the unsolicited consumer agreement protections in the ACL when it supplied services within the 10 business day cooling-off period and failed to give consumers an official form they could use to terminate the contract.

BVivid’s business address, which it was legally required to include in its agreements, was also missing.

“The unsolicited consumer agreement provisions are designed to protect consumers from being pressured by cold-calling telemarketers into signing up to contracts they may not understand,” Court said.

“We are of the view that BVivid did not meet all their obligations to consumers who were subjected to their unsolicited marketing practices.

“Consumers who find themselves signed up to a contract as a result of unsolicited marketing can cancel their contract without penalty within 10 business days of signing without needing to provide a reason,” Court concluded.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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